Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.At this time of year, in the northern hemisphere at least, we ponder the passage from darkness to light, casting away the works of the former and donning the armor of the latter. We light candles in the Advent wreath, one more each Sunday until the great celebration of the Incarnation. From this first Sunday of the Church year through Candlemas on February 2 our thoughts are focused on light, whether it be the cycles of the sun or the Light that enlightens every one coming into the world (John 1:9), the uncreated Light we see shining in the face of Christ.
Here is a hymn by Charles Wesley that we do not usually associate with Advent though it has everything to do with our appropriation of the Incarnation, of being transformed by the One who came from above.
O Thou who camest from above,
the pure celestial fire to impart
kindle a flame of sacred love
upon the mean altar of my heart.
There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return,
in humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
to work and speak and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire,
and still stir up thy gift in me.
Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat,
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make my sacrifice complete.
May the flame of sacred love blaze in our hearts.